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Alice Cooper talks ‘Jesus Christ Superstar,’ carrying a torch for rock’s outlaws and more

The iconic shock rocker hits Ruth Eckerd Hall on Friday.
Alice Cooper, shown here during rehearsals for NBC's 'Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert,' airing April 1 (Photo: Virginia Sherwood/NBC)
Published Mar. 21, 2018

Of the many, many wonderful things to love about the American treasure known as Alice Cooper, perhaps the most delightful is this: He is one of the world's greatest name-droppers.

In a recent phone conversation, the original shock rocker brings up, unprompted, personal connections to the following: Paul McCartney, Groucho Marx, Iggy Pop, Fred Astaire, Jack Benny, George Burns, Andy Warhol, Metallica and the Partridge Family. He's got stories about them all because he actually hung out with them all because, well, who wouldn't want to hang out with Alice Cooper?

"Everybody that sees the show has a different version of what they saw in the show, and I ended up meeting everybody from all walks," Cooper said by phone from his Phoenix home. "I was as accepted with the Friar's Club as I was with the rock 'n' rollers. So it was nothing for Frank Sinatra to go, 'Hey, Coop, how you doin'?' I was one of the guys. I was the villain of rock 'n' roll."

He still is. His sinister funhouse elan will back the house at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater on Friday (click here for details). And then, a week and a day later, he'll be live on national television, co-starring as King Herod alongside John Legend as Jesus in NBC's Easter Sunday telecast of Jesus Christ Superstar.

"I've always respected Broadway, because it's been a big part of what I do," he said. "West Side Story was a big part of getting the original Alice Cooper Band — let's bring that kind of thing to rock 'n' roll. Or at least borrow from it, and make rock look like that on stage."

For more of our interview with Alice Cooper, click here for our interview.

— Jay Cridlin